On August 14, a nine-year-old dalit boy succumbed to death after allegedly being assaulted by his schoolteacher for drinking water from an earthen pot “reserved for upper-caste teachers”. Indra Meghwal was a student of Class 3 at Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Jalore, Rajasthan.
“There was bleeding from his ear and thereafter, he couldn’t move one side of his body. His eye was sore and we admitted him to hospitals in Jalore, Bhinmal, Udaipur before he was referred to Ahmedabad… Caste discrimination is responsible for his death,” Indra’s father told Indian Express.
Unfortunately, this incident is one of the many that lay bare the discriminatory practices and prejudice against people from dalit and other minority communities in our country. In this episode of BOL, Joshua Bodhinetra, poet, social activist and translator for PARI, reads his poem ‘Worms in a Jar’, written in response to the gruesome incident. The poem first appeared in The People’s Archive of Rural India.
Once upon a time
there was a corpse in a school,
Yes sir! Yes sir! Three drops full!
one for a mandir,
one for a crown,
one for a pitcher where Dalits they drown.